Vesicular Transport Machinery in Brain Endothelial Cells: What We Know and What We Do Not

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The vesicular transport machinery regulates numerous essential functions in cells such as cell polarity, signalling pathways, and the transport of receptors and their cargoes. From a pharmaceutical perspective, vesicular transport offers avenues to facilitate the uptake of therapeutic agents into cells and across cellular barriers. In order to improve receptor-mediated transcytosis of biologics across the blood-brain barrier and into the diseased brain, a detailed understanding of intracellular transport mechanisms is essential. The vesicular transport machinery is a highly complex network and involves an array of protein complexes, cytosolic adaptor proteins, and the subcellular structures of the endo-lysosomal system. The endo-lysosomal system includes several types of vesicular entities such as early, late, and recycling endosomes, exosomes, ectosomes, retromer-coated vesicles, lysosomes, trans-endothelial channels, and tubules. While extensive research has been done on the trafficking system in many cell types, little is still known about vesicular trafficking in brain endothelial cells. Consequently, assumptions on the transport system in endothelial cells are based on findings in polarised epithelial cells, although recent studies have highlighted differences in the endothelial system. This review highlights aspects of the vesicular trafficking machinery in brain endothelial cells, including recent findings, limitations, and opportunities for further studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Pages (from-to)1405-1416
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Blood-brain barrier, Brain endothelial cells, Drug delivery, Endo-lysosomal system, Endosome, Trafficking machinery, Transcytosis, Vesicular transport

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